Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Bible Journaling with Watercolors

When I first started Bible journaling, I rarely used watercolors. I tried it a few times but as I began learning other mediums, I just didn't reach for them as often. Now that I have been Bible journaling for a while, watercolors have once again become one of my favorite things to use in my Bible journaling. I love that I can carry one small palette instead of a bunch of different inks or paints, which makes it an easy medium to transport but also to use for wokshops. Below I will give you some examples of how I have used watercolors in my Bible journaling as well as some tips I have learned.

The first image below titled It is Well with my Soul is one of my first experiments with watercolors. It's just a simple wash of color in the corner with some stickers layered on top but it is still one of my favorites! I vividly remember the time I spent pouring over this passage and listening to the song "It is Well" over and over while letting the message sink into my soul. Journaling this page in my Bible was a turning point in my walk with the Lord and a jump-start into my love for the beautiful world of Bible journaling. Each of the other entries shown below have their own story attached as well. I won't tell them all now but I just love how Bible journaling is a beautiful record of God's work in my life! 

Each of the pages above uses a simple watercolor technique that anyone can do! Just like anything else, it of course takes a little practice to learn the right amount of water and color to use but the goal isn't a realistic painting, just to get some color on the page. Even painting the flames was fairly easy with the help of this Youtube video. With that in mind, here's some of my top tips for getting started with watercolor paints for Bible journaling.

1. Try it out before investing in more expensive paints 

I always say that it's best to try out something before investing in it. The same is true for watercolors. If you can, I recommend finding a friend with a set you can try out or find a cheaper set like the Artist Loft palette from Micheal's. I have several of the Artist Loft sets for my Bible journaling workshops and they work well enough for the looks we're trying to get with them. They're by no means professional artist quality, but again that's not the look I am going for anyway. Some people have found that these can become chalky and transfer some color to the opposite page. I haven't really found this in my own journaling but it is something to keep in mind. If you decide that you love watercolors and know that you'll use them, then maybe try some nicer paints. Some of the slightly more expensive paints are my favorites to use. You still don't need to go high end to get a better quality for Bible journaling. Here's some of my favorite sets (some affiliate links are used): 

36 Pan Artist Loft Watercolors - Available on Amazon or at Michaels: This is the most budget friendly option at just $7.00 on Amazon. I have seem them cheaper at Micheal's and it's an even better deal if you can use a coupon! 

Masters Touch 24 Pan Set - Available on Amazon or Hobby Lobby: This is another budget friendly option. Look for the Masters Touch sale at Hobby Lobby where you can get anything in that brand for 50% off. Like the Artist Loft set, this one has a tendency to be a little chalky but is also a great option for beginners. 

Illustrated Faith Shanna's Favorite Watercolors - Available at Dayspring or This set was the first one that I used other than the cheap Artist Loft set. I grabbed it when it was on sale and have loved the vibrant colors it creates as well as it's compact size. 

Prima Marketing Watercolor Confections - Available at or Amazon and possibly Hobby Lobby: These come is sets of 12 with lots of options to choose from. I have the Pastel Dreams set and I love it for creating softer colored backgrounds. 

Koi sketchbox Watercolors - Available on Amazon: I received this set from my sister who was upgrading to more professional watercolors. I reach for this one when I am looking for certain colors. It's the set I used for the flame page as well as the page with the wine glass. They're a nicely pigmented color and doesn't leave a chalky finish. 

Kuretake Gansai Tambi Watercolors - Available on or Amazon: These are a favorite among many Bible journalers but also the most expensive option on the list. I don't currently own this set but I have tried them using my sister's set. The Praise and Thanksgiving page above was used with this set. The are a bit different in the way they behave compared to the other paints so just keep that in mind. 

For a little more in depth look at different types of watercolors, check out Lindsey Decor's Tip Tuesday all about Watercolors here

2. Test out several techniques to see how the paints react before jumping into your Bible 

Watercolors are a great medium for Bible journaling because they rarely bleed through the pages and don't generally require page prep with something like gesso. That said, I know it can be intimidating to try something new especially when it involves a fair amount of water. I recommend finding some tutorials online to help you get an idea of ways to use watercolor and trying them out on either watercolor paper or just something like cardstock. Know that different types of paper and even different Bible will react differently with watercolor to it's best to experiment with the amount of water and paint you used. You can also test them in your Bible by using some of the blank pages in the back. Below I will share a few techniques that I used in the pages above. Check out Youtube or the Illustrated Faith blog for more ideas. 

3. Just Go For It! 

My final tip is to just go for it. If there is one thing I have learned since I started Bible journaling, it's that the goal is to spend time in the word and not ultimately to create a beautiful page. Of course, I want it to look nice but even those pages that turn into what seems like a disaster were times I spend creating in my Bible and that matters more than the end result. So don't be intimidated if you are new to watercolor, get in there and try it out! 

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